AG Candidates Release Post-Primary Financial Reports

Weiser outraises Brauchler in July; both candidates have around $250k in the bank

Coming off a narrow primary victory at the end of June, the Democratic candidate for Colorado attorney general Phil Weiser outraised his Republican opponent George Brauchler by about $230,000 in the month of July.

Republican AG candidate George Brauchler, currently district attorney for the 18th judicial district, raised $29,205 last month. However, Brauchler, coming off an uncontested primary, began July with $220,887 already in the bank. Weiser spent about $1.3 million during his primary battle with state Rep. Joe Salazar, a contest Weiser won by about 5,000 votes; he had $54,062 in cash on hand at the end of June.

The contributions are detailed in the latest round of campaign financial reports released by the Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday, covering the days between June 28 and July 27. In that time, Weiser raised $261,253, bringing the total money he’s accumulated thus far in the race to just over $1.7 million. Weiser’s donor list included a large $23,600 contribution from the Colorado Democratic Party. So far, the state party has chipped in $39,100 to aid Weiser’s election bid.

Brauchler’s campaign said in a statement: “George is proud to have received contributions from all across Colorado including all 64 counties. Ninety-six percent of the total funds raised are from Coloradans. George is only beholden to the people of Colorado not out of state interests. Just last week George’s opponent was at a fundraiser in New York. Twenty-five percent of his money comes from out of state. Coloradans want a Coloradan as their next Attorney General to keep them safe and uphold the rule of law and that’s George Brauchler.”

Weiser’s campaign noted the funds he raised this past month came from approximately 900 unique donors, more than 75 percent of whom are in-state contributors. To date, the campaign said, nearly 5,000 donors have contributed to Weiser’s candidacy and that 80 percent of those donors are Coloradans.

“Phil Weiser has already raised more money from Coloradans than any candidate for Attorney General in Colorado history,” Weiser’s campaign manager Colin Hornsby said in a statement. “In just this most recent report, Phil had over four times as many Colorado donors compared with George Brauchler. In fact, Brauchler’s lackluster report of just $30,000 raised, shows that his campaign is completely reliant on the out-of-state dark money being spent on his behalf.The Republican Attorneys General Association has already spent over half a million dollars on TV ads to try to save his campaign, and we don’t know who is paying for these ads or what they expect to get from Brauchler. As attorney general, Phil will lead the effort to crack down on out of state dark money being used to influence Colorado elections.

”Separate from the financial reports released last week, both campaigns also received a bump from an outside entity. For Brauchler, that aid came in the form of a $235,000 ad buy from the Republican Attorneys General Association, a national, Washington, D.C.-based group that supports Republican AG candidates nationwide. Last month, Scott Will, executive director of RAGA, told Law Week Colorado that the Colorado AG race ranked “near the top of the list in terms of priorities.”

The cash dropped by RAGA will extend the run of an ad touting Brauchler’s experience as a prosecutor for an additional two weeks in the Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, and metro Denver markets. Still three months before the election, RAGA has spent $535,000 on the Colorado race.

Weiser’s campaign got its bump in the form of an endorsement from former President Barack Obama, one of three attorney general candidates to receive a nod from Obama last week. (The list also included Kwame Raoul in Illinois and Steve Dettelbach in Ohio.) Weiser served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice under the Obama Administration; he also spent five years as the dean of the University of Colorado Law School.

The candidates held their first debate on July 31 at a retirement community in Highlands Ranch, touching on a wide range of issues that included oil and gas drilling setbacks, marijuana legalization and immigration and the merits of sanctuary cities. No other debates are scheduled at this time.

The Secretary of State’s Office will release the next round of financial reports on Sept. 4, which will detail donations and spending for the month of August. From there, the secretary of state will released financial reports every two weeks until election day on Nov. 6.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the August 6, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.